Tag Archives: leadership

The Millennial Leader: An Introduction

I started laughing before I typed a single letter of this blog entry. “The Millennial Leader”–even the words make me laugh. I have to tell you, I have worked with a lot of millennials. In my current job, I started out surrounded by millennials. One was very smart but incredibly insecure; one was gorgeous but made very stupid decisions on the daily; and one was fairly smart and hard-working. All three were women. I currently work with one millennial male, and he’s a mix of all three of those. Somewhat smart, makes stupid decisions on the daily, hard-working, gorgeous (lol). He is a far better example of what millennial leadership should look like than the girls were–which, as a woman myself, naturally upsets me.

Millennials are the subject matter of leadership material everywhere; interesting, because my generation never needed books written on how to deal with us, work with us, or train us to be leaders. Seems most of us just naturally figured it out. But with these new generations, that is not the case. There are tons of videos, articles, and books that deal only with how to work with millennials and groom them for leadership. The truth is, millennials are a lot of hard work in the workplace. Looking at the four I mentioned up there, only one has moved on to do bigger and better things–the fairly smart hardworking woman. The rest are floundering, because they entered into an organization that did not train them properly, work with them on their skills (leadership and otherwise), and expected far too much of them in an environment not well-suited for them. That is partially the fault of organizations and companies worldwide; the rest of the blame falls on parents, culture, and millennials themselves who have been handled with kid gloves so they only respond to compliments, praise, and rewards.

And if there’s one place where millennials are getting far too many leadership opportunities and not nearly enough training, it is in the church. Don’t get me wrong; I see the need for millennials in our churches. We want and NEED this generation to be involved in the church and contributing to its success. However, we are doing them an injustice by not giving them proper training and support and making sure they are being healed from their issues prior to throwing them into ministry.

My church is no different. I can look across our campuses and see the involvement of millennials as pastors (youth, worship, children’s, even campus pastors). But I also see where we as a church have failed them. We plucked many of them from their former environments–where some of them are struggling to overcome family issues, addictive behaviors, and worse–and expected them to lead ministries and people without giving them the resources to succeed.

And as this is happening, the millennials themselves are demanding to “have a seat at the table”–to contribute and speak their minds without fear of failure. And all the while, they are failing to lead with integrity and failing to thrive because they refuse to be held accountable, refuse to give up their vices (desiring to be worldly and godly at the same time), and refuse to mature emotionally (and thus, spiritually). And I am watching it happen with great sadness.

And yet, my worship leader, at the tender age of 23, stands head and shoulders above his peers. I’ve led and coached a number of people in my lifetime, and I’ve been led by a number of people in my lifetime. And I am also very proud to say that he’s one of the best leaders with whom I have ever worked.

I am excited to share how a ministry team can thrive under a spiritually mature millennial who leads with integrity and honor. You don’t want to miss this!

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Emotionally Healthy Habits: Failure

health pyramid by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my past, particularly with my career and my relationships. I was a youth pastor for about 10 years, but not a “successful” one by any means (if you are looking at numbers, particularly). I have been a worship leader at my church, but never a “successful” one by standards that I would use to measure success. I had one long-term boyfriend, but have only dated inconsistently in the past 10 years. Even at my job with the school system, I have never quite gotten up to the level that others think I should. I often look back at my life and see that it is riddled with failure in these two areas. And of course, my two biggest concerns are whether my business will succeed and whether I’ll ever get married. I’ve experienced enough defeat in these areas to last a lifetime.

Failure comes in many forms: rejection, watching others succeed in areas where you didn’t, trying new ideas that don’t work, outright defeat. But even with its different looks, failure can be an emotionally healthy habit, if we can remember these three things about failure in our lives:

  • Failure is inevitable. Everyone fails at something, because failure is a part of life. You don’t get every job that you apply for, you don’t date every person that you want to date, and you don’t get picked for every team you want to be on! From the beginning, we are destined to experience failure and suffering. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In the world you will have tribulation.” This means that I should expect failure, honestly. He didn’t say that we might, He didn’t say only some would—He said that we all would experience tribulation, and that includes failure. God knew that I would experience a lot of career failure, and He knew that I would experience failure in my relationships. And once we accept that failure is a normal, natural experience, we can move forward.
  • Failure does not define you. Failure is not who you are, it is what happens to you. I have failed at many endeavors, but that does not make me a failure. I have received many words of encouragement from former youth, people who felt God’s Spirit in worship experiences, and friends who felt loved by me. I know that the Lord used me in many of these instances to bless others, even if the overall impact was less than I or others expected. In addition, I realize that my identity is not tied up in the things that I do—which means that failure does not determine my identity! My identity is instead wrapped up in the person of Jesus and everything that He says that I am—and Galatians 3:26 says I am a child of God—through faith, not success!
  • Failure is a great teacher. Romans 5:3-5 says, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” When we fail and suffer, we learn a great deal about endurance, character, and hope. We develop wisdom through failure that we cannot learn through success. (I guess this means I should be really wise!) In addition, God uses those failures to encourage us and others. What have I learned from my failures? That I am a great administrator; that I work better with adults; that I should not compromise what I’m looking for in a mate. As such, my failures have contributed to me knowing my passions and purpose just as much as my successes have.

Some of the greatest successes have come because of great failure, and in order to be greatly successful in God’s Kingdom, we must understand that failure is unavoidable! But once we accept that and reject the idea that failure defines us, we can learn from our failures and thus grow in our emotionally healthy habits!

DISC and Spiritual Gifts: So Happy Together

DISC-logo-2014

image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

My friend is a mercy gift—loving and kind, compassionate and empathetic to everyone. She can’t be around me when I’m angry because she will actually “absorb” my feelings. She is compassionate and giving, loyal to the nth degree. However, she is also very dominant and direct, especially in leadership roles. She has no problems telling you what to do or taking charge of situations, especially if the leadership is questionable. It seems she is crazy sometimes, though, because her primary concern is that everyone feels loved and is shown compassion, yet she can be very bossy and demanding. When you meet her, you may wonder what’s going on inside her—the conflict of her driving personality combined with her gentle, mercy-gifted spirit. But she was fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator of the universe, who saw fit to give her these conflicting motivations.

What happens when DISC and spiritual gifts combine? Can the two work together to give us a better picture of ourselves and our Creator? Of course they can! And here’s what you need to know about DISC and spiritual gifts together:

  • DISC personality profiles focus on your natural motivations. These are the motivations that you were born with that have been shaped by your upbringing, your experiences, and your desires. My friend’s personality profile is a high D because her life and natural inclinations have been to be someone who direct and in control in her home life and her work life. A lawyer by profession, she is used to taking action in situations at work. As a single mother, she also must be the driving force in her children’s lives. Her high D personality has been strengthened over the years as through leadership positions both personally and professionally. When I’ve worked under her leadership, I’ve seen first-hand her motivation for challenge and directness. However, I also know there is more to her!
  • Spiritual gifts focus on supernatural motivations. While our Creator God gave you your personality as well, He also gave you spiritual motivations to do His will and bring glory and honor to His name. My friend above is a high D and a mercy gift who God made to bring comfort to the hurting. I love seeing her spiritual gift in action, as she weeps with those who weep and celebrates with those who celebrate. I know when she is acting on her supernatural inclinations, she is walking in the will of God very clearly. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I watch this play out through my friend’s spiritual gift of mercy, and I know that God is pleased to be working in and through her.
  • DISC and spiritual gifts are better together. When you understand that you have not only natural but supernatural motivations, you see a bigger picture of yourself and the God Who created you. Why is this important? Because the more you know and understand God, the more you will know and understand yourself—and vice versa! When I think about my friend, I think about how imaginative God was when He gave her an oddly opposite combination of a high D personality with a mercy spiritual gift. But Jesus also embodied that same of “odd” pairing—mostly because he was all four personality types and all seven spiritual gifts! This also makes Jesus a great mirror to which we can compare our personality types as well as our spiritual gifts. And DISC and spiritual gifts are definitely better together!

As we close this series on DISC, I hope you’ve learned a little more about yourself and the individuality that God has blessed you with through your personality (and your spiritual gifts). If you would like to know more about DISC and/or spiritual gifts, please feel free to contact me—I would love to talk to you about your uniqueness and how it can help make you a better leader, friend, spouse, and family member—because knowing yourself is the best thing you can give to the world!

DISC: Is This Really Me?

DISC-logo-2014

image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

I have a new coworker at my “day” job, and since we have finally gotten settled into our office after a month offsite, I decided to take her on a tour of our facility. While she is not new to the organization, she is new to the building—the only building I’ve actually worked at during my tenure at the company. We left the office for our “brief” jaunt but ended up taking a little longer than usual as we walked throughout the entire building. When we returned, the intern asked candidly, “What took you guys so long?!” I was about to say, “It’s a large, confusing building”—which it is. But before I could say anything, my coworker replied, “Michelle knows everyone, and everyone loves her, so she had to stop and catch up with everyone!” That was an interesting observation about me, a task-oriented high D!

Luckily, the DISC profile covers those discrepancies in our personalities, giving users two graphs to consider. The first is the “This is expected of me!” graph, which addresses who you think other people want you to be—how you act out others’ expectations of you. The second is the “This is me!” graph—who you really are when you are with close friends and family. My coworker’s observation of me was simply her seeing my “This is expected of me!” graph (high I) on full display—the people-oriented salesperson who loves and inspires everyone. However, when she made that comment, I had to ask myself…is that really me?

Here’s a couple of things to remember about that tension between who you believe others expect you to be, and who you really are:

What you think others expect of you can change. I’m going to be honest: I’ve found that when I’m working at something that I don’t care about, my “This is expected of me!” graph tends to change with the situation. I can be super steady, candidly cautious, a demanding director, or an inspiring people person! For example, I currently work with a high C, a high I, and a high S—so I am comfortable being the high D in my office. But for the previous three years, I worked with two high Ds, a high C, and a high S—so I needed to be the high I to balance the office environment. This high I personality was the person that everyone in the building knew—and the one everyone liked. It was my job, but I wasn’t passionate about it, so I simply adapted to my circumstances. I equate this to the apostle Paul, who noted that he became “all things to all people” so that he could preach the gospel more effectively (1 Corinthians 9:22). However, it was way more exhausting for me to constantly be someone other than my true self.

Who you really are is what’s important. Ultimately, you want to have both graphs match or at least be similar, because you don’t want to spend your life being two people—one that others expect, and one that you actually are. But how do you merge the two? I’ve found that one of the ways that I can help my graphs to become more similar is to do something that I love. When you are doing what you are passionate about, it is much easier to be yourself without caring what others expect or think of you. The second way is to mature, both emotionally and physically. Physically, the older we get, the less we care what others expect of us (yay for that!). But emotionally, as we concern ourselves more with finding our true passions and purposes, the better we become at letting go of “This is expected of me!” and embracing “This is me!” The Bible warns us that caving to others’ expectations is a snare (Proverbs 29:25); instead, we should accept who God has made us to be and live confidently as His children.

The pull between expectations and reality are a daily battle for each of us. However, you can begin to win those battles for reality simply by being yourself. Learn more about who you are, what you love, and what God has called you to do so that you can confidently declare in every situation, “This is me!”

What is your “This is me!” personality? Let me help you identify it through personal coaching!

DISC: You’d Better Recogn-I’s!

DISC-logo-2014

image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

My supervisor is a high I—the inspiring, influencing one in the office. He wants to be everyone’s friend—and he tends to get upset if he is not seen as such. In every situation, he must be the center of attention and the life of the party—he’s fun-loving and outgoing and always telling an interesting story. He just wants everyone to like him. Once when I said something that upset him, he thought about it for hours before confronting me. Then when he did confront me, he used his words and emotions to convey himself, hurting me with his words in the process. However, knowing he’s an I and how he thinks, I made the intelligent decision to apologize for how I might have come across—and as a final offering, I asked him if he and I were “okay.” I did the latter because I know that for him, being “liked” by me was far more important than any apology. He forgot the situation almost instantly.

Everyone knows that high I’s in their lives: the life of the party, the salesman, the emotional one who wants to be well-liked and popular. Their basic motivation is recognition—so most people definitely know who they are! But here are a few things to remember about the high I personality profile:

  • I’s stand out in a crowd, mostly because they love people….They want to be popular and look good and be known as fun-loving and outgoing. People like to be around them because of their ability to inspire others with their energetic personality and exciting attitude. My supervisor is the first person to organize a happy hour and ask you how your weekend was. He’s not making small-talk—he is genuinely interested in people’s lives and what’s going on with them. He can strike up a conversation with anyone—because I’s become friends with everyone they meet! The other personality profiles could learn a lot about forming relationships and improving their people skills from the I’s.
  • …and sometimes they stand out because they are seeking recognition and attention. They don’t just want to stand out—many times, they need to stand out. This need for attention and approval from others is excessive in your high I’s. In addition, their need for attention may cause time management problems. My supervisor never wants to spend too much time in his office, looking at a computer screen—he wants to be in the middle of the action! He wanders around the office numerous times a day searching for personal interaction—to share an anecdote, tell a story, or just check in with everyone. However, this need for personal attention often results in having to take work home with him or rushed work to meet deadlines.
  • In conflict, I’s are very compromising. Wanting to be liked, needing to please others, and being motivated by recognition means that high I’s only want peace in conflict situations. They try to avoid conflict if at all possible. But mostly, they don’t want anyone to dislike them, so they are more prone to make the easy choice instead of the right one. I have watched my supervisor struggle with this many times over the past year. What I’s need to remember about conflict is that “I” is the middle letter in the word “pride”—in other words, that they should not let their ego and people pleasing deter them for standing up for what is right. Don’t worry about being popular, worry about doing the right thing.

Influencing others can be a great asset or a great flaw in high I’s. They should focus on using their people skills to create peaceful environments, whether at home or at work—but not for the sake of pleasing others. If I’s can focus less on their desire for attention, they can focus more on being natural leaders who inspire and motivate others to be their best!

Do you know a high I? What’s your favorite thing about him or her?

DISC: The Dominating D’s

DISC-logo-2014

image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

The pastor and his wife had just come to the church and started a contemporary service, and now they had a band—would I be interested in joining them since I was a musician, the pastor’s wife wondered? I showed up to that first rehearsal and took in everything, offering my opinion and my talents at piano and voice. I had been involved in the band for less than a month when something drastic happened: I had taken over leadership of the band. I was organizing rehearsals, choosing the music, and finding the best way to use the personnel. Even better (or worse?), I wasn’t accepting much advice or input from anyone. Interestingly enough, I had never been in or led a band before—but when I arrived at the band that first day, I had seen something that wasn’t working at its best, and my personality kicked into high gear.

Everyone can pick out a high D in their life: that one decisive, demanding person who will step into a challenge and get the job done. You may know them, but here are a few interesting things to remember about high D’s:

A high D loves a challenge…Per Dr. Mels Carbonell, a D does not work well in an environment where there is not challenge and choice. They need these things to be successful in their careers and their relationships. Challenges present a time for them to put their “doing” to the test. In the case above, God had gifted me to clearly see how to use each person on the team in the best way. I was motivated by the desire to have an excellent worship team where each person was used in a way that brought the team the most benefits. This was a challenge, because I hadn’t been playing with the band for any time—but as my time with them grew, so did the challenge of fitting all the pieces together to create something beautiful for God.

…but be careful, because D’s also may offend others in their efforts to improve a situation. Because D’s are usually demanding task-oriented doers who test and challenge authority, they do not respect leaders who are not strong. They cannot handle when there is a lack of direction and discipline! When I walked into that situation in my church years ago, I sensed that the leadership was not strong, so I stepped up to the plate. But on my way to the batter’s box, I pushed aside several people without thought for their feelings. The band may have been better because of it, but my personal relationships suffered. And personal relationships—especially the areas of love, patience, and kindness—are where the D needs to grow the most.

In conflict…D’s tend to attack and want to be right. This can lead to intense conflicts, especially between two D’s. Perhaps as they mature, D’s will begin to think things through before confronting others! Hopefully, high D’s will begin to embrace the mantra that it is better to be well than to be right. While I am still trying to improve in this area, I personally have found the battle is for my mind more than my mouth! If I can stop the thoughts, I am more likely to stop the action. I also am learning, however, to handle conflict with more sensitivity and compassion, again—two things that D’s tend to struggle with.

Dealing with D’s can be difficult if you don’t know what to expect—and while you can expect demanding, intense, bossy dominance from them, you can also expect them to excel in trying situations and to accomplish every task that is before them, no matter how challenging. Like all of the personality types and blends, D’s have some room for growth, but we are an important part of any team, family, or relationship group. So embrace our pushiness and watch us flourish!

Do you have any D’s in your life? How do you handle their direct dominance?

DISC: Personality Is Not Everything!

DISC-logo-2014

image courtesy of Christian Coach Institute

When my coworker got a new job, I knew she would have a difficult time with the transition because she’s an S. I just didn’t anticipate HOW difficult it was going to be. From the minute she accepted the new job, she took everything our boss—a high C—did as a personal insult to justify her decision to leave. She made the work environment a tense and awful place to work for six weeks before my boss finally asked her to leave early on her last day. The first day without her was the first time I relaxed in weeks. And none of this had anything to do with how she was being treated—but it had everything to do with personality differences.

In addition to the beauty of spiritual gifts, God has also given us distinct personality types that I will blog about for the next few weeks. The best personality assessment that I’ve found to match with spiritual gifts is the DISC personality profile. DISC was created by William Marsten and made popular by Walter Vernon Clarke, and it has been used for many years to encourage community, create cohesiveness, and combat conflict in relationships of all types. Here’s what you need to know about the four basic personality types of DISC:

  • D stands for the dominant personality. D’s like to be challenged and tend to be determined, decisive, and demanding. You can always find a D doing—because that’s what we love to do most. We are task-oriented and can take charge if given the reigns. I am a high D who tends to walk into a group and take over—especially if there is weak leadership. Like all D’s, I love a challenge, though, and I am fearless and forward when it comes to accomplishing something. In conflict, D’s can be stubborn and hardheaded as well as assertive—which can make for interesting team dynamics!
  • The I’s are your natural salesmen—the inspiring personality. They like to influence, impress, and interact with others—the life of the party. Most I’s like to tell stories and get noticed, wanting to be recognized and not paying enough attention to detail. My supervisor (beneath my boss) is a high I—and he loves people. I’s are people-oriented and thrive when they can be in relationship with others and have prestige. My supervisor loves to plan happy hours, tell jokes, and be your friend. But when it comes to conflict, I’s are easily hurt by criticism and will try to talk their way out of anything.
  • S’s look for security as their motivation. They, too, are people-oriented but tend to be more passive. They are your shy, stable, servants who love to have personal support and need plenty of time to adjust to change. They thrive in consistent, familiar environments and are mostly relaxed and friendly to everyone. My former coworker is a high S who was incredible at her job because she had been in that office for 10 years. So when she decided to take a new job, it was easier to find security in her decision by creating conflict where it did not exist.
  • The C is for your cautious, competent person. They are careful and contemplative about everything, and their main motivation is quality. C’s are task-oriented and give thorough explanations to everything. My boss is a high C— a detailed professional who brings zero personal issues into the workplace. He does not come to work to make friends; he comes to accomplish tasks in a clear and precise manner. He has a high standard of excellence and strives to meet it. In conflict, C’s may stick to the facts and ignore feelings—and this is exactly what caused so much strife between my boss and coworker during her transition out of our office.

Personality is not everything, but it is a large part of who we are! When you better understand your personality and others’, you can have more grace for them. I will discuss more about each individual personality trait over the next couple of weeks, including some personality blends. Join me in this new series as we discuss more how our personalities influence our identities!

From these brief descriptions, what DISC personality type do you think you are?

Enforcing Boundaries

DO NOT CROSS by artur84

image courtesty of artur84 / freedigitalphotos.net

Jennie’s mom calls her seven or eight times a day. One time while dining with Jennie’s mom, she made a point to call Jennie just to say, “We just finished dinner, and now we’re going to eat dessert. It went well and they liked my shrimp.” Because Jennie is one of my dearest friends, I knew she was frustrated. (Even I was annoyed by it!) Jennie often vents about how her mother’s life revolves around her and her family and how she wishes her mother had a life outside of her. I listen, knowing what the problem is: Jennie has not set clear, firm boundaries with her mother.

Boundaries are limitations that we place in our lives to help us meet our own needs, maximize our strengths, and minimize our weaknesses. Boundaries can help protect us emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally by regulating any circumstances that would not support our personal growth. For example, Jennie’s mother has not grown emotionally or mentally because Jennie has allowed her mother to depend on her too much. In addition, Jennie has not grown emotionally, either, because she is too afraid of hurting her mother’s feelings by being firm.

Boundaries are a healthy human behavior trait, and the following are some things you can do to have them, set them, and enforce them:

  1. To have boundaries, you must be self-aware. You cannot set limits for yourself if you are unaware of your personal needs, likes, and desires. Before I was self-aware, I would lash out at everyone when I didn’t receive enough “Michelle time”—much to the chagrin of my family and friends. Once I realized that I needed time alone to recharge, I began to plan it into my schedule on vacations, short weekend trips, and busy weeks. This helped me to maximize my strengths and minimize my weaknesses by meeting my need for silence, relaxation, and reflection. Ask yourself the difficult questions: What do I need? What do I like? When ____ happens, how do I feel?
  2. To set boundaries, you must communicate them. Once I figured myself out, I could not expect that my friends and family suddenly just “knew” that I needed alone time—I had to tell them, and I often have to remind them! Please do not expect people to read your mind. Communicate clearly and communicate often—there is no need to defend or debate, but you must say it. Most importantly, communicate your boundaries to others with grace and kindness. You don’t need to explain yourself, justify your boundaries, or defend your choices: but you DO need to communicate them to others.
  3. To enforce boundaries, you must be firm—but flexible. A lot of people have no boundaries or soft boundaries because they do not know how to firmly but lovingly enforce them. Being firm with boundaries takes discipline and practice! You may have to repeat yourself a number of times and have consequences for when your boundaries are violated constantly. However, being firm does not mean being rigid with your boundaries. If your bedtime is set firmly at 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, but a once-in-a-lifetime event is taking place that will run until midnight, you can give yourself permission to say yes! Remain flexible but firm.

You have a right to care for yourself, and you have a right to be healthy! Boundaries are a great path to self-respect and emotional intelligence and health.

What are some boundaries that you have set in your life?

Respond or React?

My friend was upset with me, but I didn’t know it. In the end, after I went away for some quiet time to myself, I found out in the worst way: a long, ranting, drawn out e-mail from her in which she escalated and attacked me. After a few days of withdrawing, I responded with a scathing e-mail that attacked and escalated even further. Was I embracing conflict or simply reacting to the situation at hand?

conflict by bplanet

image courtesy of bplanet / freedigitalphotos.net

Embracing conflict is an important part of being a leader—whether you are leading in your home, at your job, or in your community. If you react, your retaliation may cause further damage. If you embrace, you can respond with humility. What are some ways you can respond to and embrace conflict instead of reacting to and retaliating in the midst of it? It comes back to keeping the main thing the main thing:

  1. Focus on the issue, not the person. Right now, you are saying, “But the issue IS the person!” The issue is rarely the person; the issue is usually how you are reacting to the person and how the person is reacting to the issue. Maybe they responded in a wrong way, but you do not have to react to their response. Instead, you should act on the issue at hand. Solve the problem, and the keep personal insults out of the mix. The issue with me and my friend was deeper than her e-mail; I was too selfish and immature then to realize or understand that.
  2. Quit trying to prove your point by proving that the other person is wrong. The issue is not who is right or wrong; the issue is the issue! Trying to prove someone else wrong exudes pride, not humility; selfishness, not teamwork. Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Humble yourself in the midst of conflict. Do you want to be right or do you want to be well? Asking yourself this question in the midst of conflict will refocus you and reenergize your pursuit to embrace (and end) the conflict.
  3. Face-to-face, there’s no other way! With social media and the ease of communication today, we often e-mail, text, Facebook, tweet, Pin, or Google to air our grievances against one another. Or we choose to triangulate, telling another friend the issue instead of going to the source. Doing that shows very little emotional intelligence on our part. If you have a problem with someone, don’t post it for everyone to see (even if you leave out names) or talk behind someone’s back. Instead, do as the Bible tells us: when we have sinned against one another, find each other and talk it out. Exercise emotional intelligence. Go to the throne before you go to the phone! Then go to your friend and handle with grace.

Embracing conflict means handling conflict maturely: with humility, grace, and wisdom. If you’re seeking to be emotionally intelligent, you must model grace to others, even if you do not receive it in return. 

What’s one way you embrace conflict in your life?

Please Identify Yourself

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“The vast majority of us go to our graves without knowing who we are.” –Peter Scazzero

Far too many people coast through life wondering who they are because they do not know how to find out (or Who can tell them); hiding who they are because they are afraid that people won’t like them if they know the truth; or being someone else because they have surrendered to other people’s assumptions about them. Few people, and even fewer Christians, are walking in their God-given identity. They lack self-awareness.

I was there. Ten years ago, I had the self-awareness of a square, the emotional intelligence of a newborn, and the self-control of a rabid dog. I was a complete mess with no idea of who I was, who God said I was, and who I was becoming. Quite honestly, I would have been content with chasing the “American dream” of having a husband, kids, a house, and a couple of nice cars. I would have “settled” for those things because that would have given my life some “definition.” It was a worldly definition, but it was a definition nonetheless.

Thankfully, an incredible friend introduced me to the motivational spiritual gifts and explained to me that I was a prophet. Oh, to feel understood and to understand how God had made me! And as I looked further into who I was, I saw where I needed to improve and how I could live out God’s dream and vision for my life!

So if self-awareness is crucial to great leadership, then where do you start? Here are two valuable ways you can improve your self-awareness:

  • Find your motivational gift (Romans 12:6-8). Knowing why you are motivated in specific ways can help you understand yourself better in big AND small ways. It also can show in which areas you need to improve. For example, prophets tend to value truth over relationship. This is an area I am constantly trying to improve as I learn that God is the real truth-giver who has called me be quiet and be in relationship—especially when it is tough. Knowing this about myself has helped me to solve a host of issues at my job, home, and church.
  • Acknowledge and overcome your past (see the story of Joseph in Genesis 37). Your past does not have to define you, but you can learn from it and move forward. If you have unresolved wounds from your past, you cannot fully experience the life God intended. Explore your family of origin, how your parent(s) raised you, and significant life events—both good and bad—to discover who you are so that you can live joyfully in your new family: God’s family. I acknowledged and overcame my past through Celebrate Recovery, but there are many awesome programs/people out there that can help you walk through your hurts, hang-ups, and habits and discover new life in Christ. The old saying is right: you can’t know where you’re going ’til you know where you’ve been!

To become a great leader, you must know yourself. Who are you?

Interested in discovering your motivational spiritual gift and leadership style? Click on “Contact Me” at the top of this page and submit the form. I’d love to have a free discovery call with you.